By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – John N. Palmer, a Corinth native and successful businessman, said Thursday that living as a global citizen brings an understanding and a call to service – much as living a spiritual life does.
“We become more sensitive to differences and learn to respect them,” said Palmer, who was honored at a luncheon in Jackson by the Mississippi Geographic Alliance for his visionary leadership.
Palmer, who was ambassador to Portugal under the administration of George W. Bush, has been successful in many business ventures, such as CEP of Jackson-based Sky Tel, which was a national leader in the telecommunications industry. He also has been involved in numerous philanthropic efforts in the state, such as support of the Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
The National Geographic Alliance, which is housed at the University of Mississippi, promotes the importance of geographic education, honored Palmer because of his recognition of “the importance of global understanding” and because of his promotion of Mississippi in other parts of the world.
Mary Jane Jackson, a teacher at Walnut Elementary in Tippah County and a teacher consultant for the state Geographic Alliance, says she tries to incorporate the importance of understanding other cultures and how Mississippi relates in both location and culture, into her classroom. Jackson, who attended Thursday’s luncheon honoring Palmer, said three years ago, one of her students, Brook Pulliam, was recognized nationally by the National Geographic Society for a video answering the question of “why geography matters.”
On Thursday, the Mississippi Geographic Alliance honored Palmer, who grew up in Alcorn County many years ago only miles from Pulliam, for his work in business, philanthropy and in diplomacy in making Mississippi part of the global culture.
At the luncheon, Palmer said a spiritual life teaches people to have an understanding and compassion for others and teaches people the importance of gratitude and service.
He said being a global citizen does the same.
Palmer’s global citizenship started in Corinth – one of three children of David M. Palmer and the former Veva Bell. Palmer’s brother, David M. Palmer III still lives in Corinth.
The Mississippi Geographic Alliance was formed in 1989 in partnership with the National Geographic Society and various Mississippi support groups. Carley Lovorn, a Tupelo native, is assistant director of the Alliance and played a key role in developing Thursday’s program honoring Palmer.